May 9 – May 15, 2017

WORD

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.  2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

4“And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  7If you know me, you will know my Father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”  9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.  11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

12“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.  13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

John 14:1-14

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

I have this vision of what heaven will be like.  We are all transformed back into children and we are gathered into the presence of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit .  There in that place and presence, we simply abide.  We abide there in play, closeness, and joy.  There is room there for everyone (everyone who wants to be there) and we are able to see and know all of those who have been a part of our life in some significant way.  In my vision of heaven we are all gathered in the presence of God by a great river, but close to the river there is a warm, cozy home for us all to find rest.  I have held this vision close to my heart, mind, and spirit for several years.

I do not know exactly what that experience will be, when we are all gathered into God’s presence together after the resurrection and the completion of the new heaven and new earth.  I take comfort, though, in this vision that incorporates all that Jesus is speaking of to his disciples in this passage.  We will be in the presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and we will dwell in the security of that presence.  That presence will be like a home for us, a home of many rooms – connected – in which we gather in communion with God and one another.  There will be no isolation and no separation from what is good and lovely and pure.

Such a place is a promise, not a pipe-dream.  Jesus is already working to prepare that place for us.  Jesus prepares that place every day when he works within and through us to make the kingdom a reality.  When our hearts and attitudes and actions are transformed into holy works of divine love, then we (and the world) are prepared for that place.  How might you receive the preparation of our Father’s house in your life this week?  How might the work God is doing in and through you prepare others for that place?  The work of God here and now on earth is the preparation of our future dwelling place in God.  We will be taken there when all things are ready.  Until then, let Jesus prepare room within and through you.

As a bonus, this week I would like to share with you a poem I wrote detailing my vision of the life to come.  I hope it inspires you and blesses you.  It is not gospel truth, but it is inspired by it. 🙂

Love is a patchwork quilt

Love is a patchwork quilt
You receive at the wide river
At which you meet God
When you are formed back into a child

As you climb into the holy lap
You are wrapped in a covering
Of scraps of wedding dresses
Swaddle blankets and dinner table cloths
Squares of loud father’s day neckties and singed strings of kitchen aprons
Fashioned by remnants of your finest moments and
Deepest tears
Silk and burlap
Suits and uniforms and hospital gowns
And the border is mercy

Love is the patchwork quilt
You, child, receive from God

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, May 9 – Daniel 5
  • Wednesday, May 10 – Daniel 6
  • Thursday, May 11 – Daniel 7
  • Friday, May 12 – Daniel 8
  • Saturday, May 13 – Daniel 9
  • Sunday, May 14 – Daniel 10
  • Monday, May 15 –  Daniel 11

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

What a power-packed promise!  Imagine that we might actually do works greater than those of Jesus!  Christians over the centuries have indeed been able to do more works than Jesus was able to do on earth, for the power and grace of Jesus’s earthly life is multiplied in the lives of the multitude of believers and disciples who have followed Jesus.  What godly works of power and grace does Jesus wish to do in and through you?  Pray this week for anointing to do the work of Jesus in your corner of the world.  Ask God to give you holy visions and Spirit-led direction.  Consider what it is that God might want you to do in and with your life and pray for the empowerment to do it!

Meditation Focus: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jesus spoke these words of encouragement to his disciples as he was about to head to the cross.  Here was Jesus, preparing to face the most difficult challenge of his life, comforting others.  Jesus wants to comfort you, too.  We can live out these words of Jesus because we know Jesus is with us through the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  No matter what we face, we are welcomed by Jesus with open arms, invited into a place in which our hearts will not be troubled.  Imagine this week that Jesus is holding you as a parent would hold their newborn or small child.  As Jesus cradles you, bring to mind each of those great sources of stress in your life.  As you bring up each source of stress, feel the arms of Jesus around you and hear his gentle whisper of “Do not let your heart be troubled.”  Repeat this until you sense yourself falling more deeply and securely into the comforting presence of Christ.

Journaling Focus: Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

What works have you seen lately that have convinced you of the power of Jesus Christ?  The disciples had seen many works of Jesus’s power and they still struggled to believe.  We, too, have seen many powerful works of God in Christ and we, too, struggle at times to believe.  That is why it is important to remember and rehearse these events.  Mentally scan the Gospels.  What works of power did the disciples witness that testified to the power of the Father in Jesus’s life?  Now scan your life over the past few months.  What works of power have you witnessed, in your life or the life of others, that have testified to the power of the Father in Jesus’s life?  After you write some of these down, sit and reflect on what these instances affect your life.  How do they help you to believe?

Holy Action: 

Chart your life history.  How has Jesus been the way for you throughout your life?  Write down a progression of the ten most important events of your life.  Where was Jesus in these events?  How was Jesus leading you?  What did Jesus do in your life to bring you into and through all of these events?  How has the way of Christ shaped the way of your life?

Breath Prayer: Father, hold us.

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